They say everyone has an addiction of some sort. Addiction runs in my family, not a good addiction, drug and alcohol addiction. Actually sitting here thinking about it, no addiction is a good addiction, some are just way more harmful than others. My addiction has never been drugs or alcohol, in fact I’m anti-drugs. (Although I do understand people using marijuana for pain and sleep, I just don’t agree with people abusing it and functioning daily on it.) I like my champagne at night, but I’m not a big drinker either. I can only handle two glasses of champagne, the third glass puts me over the edge and I feel like crap the next day. My addiction is working out. I’ve probably mentioned this before but I grew up going to the gym with my mom. When I became of age, my mom would take me to the gym with her and I would hop on the treadmill next to her and jog. Once I was in high school I had my first serious boyfriend who was really into fitness because he played football. We started going to the gym together and he taught me how to use a few of the weight machines, we would also play racquet ball and ventured out to different cardio machines too. A few of my girlfriends eventually joined the same gym so it became a hobby for me and a place I would spend a few hours at because I knew everyone there and it was something to do when everyone else was out partying.
When I went to the gym in high school I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and then I’d workout casually. I took my time while there and would socially interact while using each machine. My mom always cooked clean and healthy meals so it’s not like I was eating horribly bad, except for the fact that I would binge eat hot cheetos and slurpees from 711 directly after the gym. However, once my parents divorced I became the woman of the house. I would cook heavy, hearty, pasta dishes and if I wasn’t cooking dinner then I was going out to dinner eating Mexican food or pizza and lunch was always fast food during that time in my life. I didn’t work the first year out of high school so my boyfriend at the time would bring me lunch every day on his lunch break. You’re not going to believe what I would eat on a typical day. He would either bring me McDonald’s and I would eat a 20 piece chicken nugget, large fry, two cheese burgers and a soda or he would bring Wienerschnitzel and I would have a chili cheese fry, mini corn dogs, chili cheese burger, chili dog and a soda. Then we would either go out to dinner that night or I would cook unhealthy meals. GROSS! I haven’t eaten at either of those fast food places in years and I haven’t touched a soda in probably 15 years. Needless to say I gained weight. It wasn’t a crazy amount of weight, just unhealthy looking weight. I think I went from weighing 105 lbs right out of high school and at my heaviest weighed 117 but it was bad weight. I’ll attach a picture below.
When I started becoming unhappy in my relationship is when I started becoming addicted to running. At the time I was battling some sort of depression. I started hating myself and who I had become. I became ant-social and no longer wanted to go to the gym so I asked for a treadmill for Christmas and started running on it every night in my room when I got off work. I stopped drinking soda and I would run six miles every single night and started seeing results after a few weeks. I started loving my body again. However, what I didn’t realize is I had also started to gain unhealthy eating habits. I was so addicted to how running made me feel and the results I was seeing, that I wanted more, and stopped eating meals. Instead I would only have Jamba Juice for dinner and nothing more. I can’t remember how I was eating throughout the day but I know it wasn’t much. I was finally back down to 105 lbs, finally felt confident again and that’s around the time I gained enough courage to leave the relationship I was in, for good.
Running stayed with me for years. My unhealthy eating habits (eating little to nothing + Jamba Juice) only lasted for a few months. Once my husband and I started dating and I was having fun again I was eating normal but became much more health conscious about what I was putting in my body. Josh was in shape so I felt I needed to be in good shape for him too. He started running with me and found a love for running too. I went on to run two marathons and a ½ marathon all within 1 ½ years and then decided I needed to take a break and try something new. As much as I loved how running made me feel, I also know the damage it does on your knees and I wanted to be able to have options on how to stay in shape.
That’s when I became addicted to weight lifting and HIT. I started doing Insanity and loved the results I got from it. I started adding in some weight lifting and some running directly after doing Insanity. I found myself working out 2+ hours a day. I was addicted to the results and the way I felt. I cleaned up my eating even more and became extremely strict on myself by restricting carbs (both simple and complex), fat and probably calories too (although I have never been one to count calories so I don’t know that for sure). At this point I had the body I had always wanted… the body I envied when I looked through workout magazines (minus the boobs because I lost mine along the way of losing fat haha) but I had also developed anxiety, low blood pressure and started to seclude myself from any activities with friends in fear that I’d be tempted to “eat bad.”
This restrictive diet and 2+ hour workout obsession went on for about 2/3 months. There were times where I would get done working out and would almost pass out because my blood sugar levels would drop so low. I would have to sit down until Josh could bring me something that had sugar in it so that I would feel normal again. There was also a night (the first night out with friends since I had changed my eating habits and workout habits) where we were out with friends and I had a horrible panic attack. I literally thought I was dying, my hearing started fading, my vision was blurred, my heart was beating super fast, I felt like I was going to puke and I was so light-headed I couldn't even stand or walk. I wanted to go to the hospital. We were down at a bar down by the beach about 30 minutes away from home. Our car was parked about 10 minutes away from where we were but I couldn’t even walk, so we had to leave our car there and catch a Taxi home because I needed to leave before I passed out. Once we were in the Taxi Josh knew what was going on. I was having a full-blown panic attack, something I’ve never experienced before.
That night was the night I knew I had taken dieting and exercising too far and from the day forward I vowed to love my body, nourish my body properly and show women that being healthy is not all about having this perfect flawless body because you’ll never feel content living life that way. And just because you may look healthy or ridiculously lean on the outside, does NOT mean that you’re body is healthy on the inside.
So the point of this blog post is to show people that addiction of any sort can be really bad. Don’t miss out on life because you’re caught up in looking a certain way. Learn to love your body, learn what’s healthy for your body, learn to nourish the body you were given by feeding it foods that heal the inside and limit your time in the gym because anything in excessive amounts just isn’t good for you. Practice a lifestyle that’s forever maintainable. You have to think long term rather than short term. Long term as in what’s going to happen when you get older (think 60s) and you’ve spent years working out for 2+ hours a day. Are you going to be able to maintain that at that age? Probably not, and you’ve spent so many years overworking your body that your body’s not going to know how to function correctly if you don’t keep it up. Are you going to be able to restrict calories, carbs or whatever for the rest of your life too? Because if you don’t, I can guarantee you’re going to struggle with some major weight gain and one point or another. And who wants to live a life full of restrictions, you cannot fully LIVE like that.
I’ve never been one to follow any of the fad diet plans out there but I have been guilty of working out too much and not eating enough and I know the damage it does to your body internally.
My body has carried a baby and my body has breastfed a baby and I can honestly say that those two things alone have really allowed me to gain a whole new respect for my body. I take pride in fueling my body with healthy nutritious foods that help heal from the inside out rather than just eating foods or restricting foods that I think are going to give me this “ideal” body. My workouts are maintainable, no more than 45 minutes and I do what I feel like doing day to day based on my energy. I no longer shame myself for taking days off or eating too much of something and this has given me so much freedom.
My view on being healthy went from focusing on the outside to focusing on the inside. I eat foods that I know heal the body which is something I’ve been doing for a long time now but without crazy restrictions. I eat a lot of plant based foods, and animal protein once maybe twice a day. I eat lots of healthy fats, nuts, avocado, egg yolks etc.. and carbs like oats/granola, brown rice, potatoes of all kinds, etc… I also indulge in some of my favorite guilty pleasures (hot cheetos, cheez-its, sour patch kids) whenever I crave those things too. I no longer schedule out my meals, instead I eat when I’m hungry. I do however try and make water a priority. I’m the kind of person who can eat meals without having anything to drink, so I have to force myself to drink water or I can go all day without it. I try and get in at least 60 ounces a day. I think a gallon of water a day is too much and there is such a thing as being over hydrated.
Working out relives stress for me, it keeps me sane, it makes me happy, it makes me an all around better me and because of that I make it a priority in my life. 45 minutes a day is realistic long-term and an effective amount of time to see results. My body now may not be as “lean” as it was when I was restricting foods/calories but it still looks just as good, if not better, and internally I know I’m healthy.
Unless you’re a personal trainer, 2+ hours a day is unrealistic long-term wise (and now if you have kids and a family) and does a lot of wear and tear on the body. Find a way to condense your workouts so that they are still just as effective and so that you can maintain them in the future when you’re much older.
For me, 25 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of circuit training is the perfect balance. I’ve been doing this for probably 4 years now. I started working out this way when I became pregnant and have done so ever since. It’s worked very well for me and even when I have weeks of eating bad or weeks I take off from working out to allow my body to rest, I bounce back immediately when I get back on track again. When I was spending hours working out and restricting my foods, a few “mess up” days would cause me to bloat,add on extra pounds right away and would be hard to get rid of. That’s how you know I was going about things in an unhealthy way. Your body should not respond like that if you are doing things the healthy way.
On that note, I thought I would share what a normal morning of eating looks like for me:
• First thing when I wake up - 16.7 ounces of water, B12 and Biotin.
• Coffee with creamer and marshmallows on top (I only drink ½ the cup, I’m just not a big coffee drinker)
• 15 ounces of Juice – My typical juice that I juice in bulk (Beets, cucumber, ginger, celery, carrots, spinach and lemon) JUICING IS EVERYTHING!
• 6 oz Greek yogurt 0%, one green apple and granola
• A cup of peppermint tea
I like to keep my morning routine of eating on track. The rest of the day can be kind of random but I always drink at least 60 ounces of water, I always have my champagne at night and I always have a protein of some sort with my lunch and dinner. My goal at the end of the day isn’t to track calories, protein, carbs etc…but to try and feed my body as many different veggies (and a few fruits too) as I can at the end of the day. To me that is what being healthy is all about, healing my insides rather than focusing so much on the outside. In doing so, I feel like the outside has just kind of fallen in place perfectly : )
To wrap this up, be kind to your body, it’s the only one you’ll ever have, so treat it well and try not to overwork it, underfeed it and restrict it of foods that heal you from the inside out. When you’re healthy on the inside it shows on the outside, your skin, your hair etc…
Me 13 years ago before I started changing my eating habits and working out consistently
Me now: healthy and doing nothing restrictive or crazy: